Transport for London’s Signal Failure – £886m more than planned*

Horrible headlines and a horrible situation.

The above costs come from a report published by Budget and Performance Committee of the London Assembly.

Some of the statistics and comments in the report are astounding and some are below:

·         ….TfL has grossly mismanaged its signalling contract with Bombardier, which means that anyone taking the District, Circle, Metropolitan, or Hammersmith & City lines will have to wait five years longer than originally expected to see the improvements.

·         ….there is a staggering cost associated with this mismanagement, which leaves TfL with £886 million less to spend on its capital programme than it thought it had. For those of you that are struggling to visualise what that kind of money can buy, you’re looking at something the size of another Northern Line extension project that will have to at best be put on hold, and at worst won’t happen at all

·         TfL estimates that there will be 11 million fewer journeys a year and that this will cost it £271 million in lost fares income. The broader economy will also suffer…..

·         TfL relied on Bombardier to provide an end-to-end solution. The market is not mature enough to take this approach now and it certainly was not five years ago.

The report can be found at

The report can be found at

·         TfL’s external auditors, KPMG, conducted a lessons learned review that found that TfL’s procurement process was not well thought out.

·         TfL seemed to change its procurement process as it went along. If TfL had followed the process as outlined in the 5 Official Journal of the European Community notice, then neither Bombardier nor the firm that finished second would have made the cut.

·         Neither TfL nor Bombardier’s management teams were up to the task of managing the programme.

·         On this programme, a culture seems to have grown whereby TfL’s management was only interested in presenting good news. The Assembly experienced this first-hand. As late as June 2014, TfL’s senior management continued to claim that the project could still be delivered by 2018 despite rail experts suggesting that this was impossible. The fact that TfL has now confirmed that the programme is running five years late suggests that TfL’s senior management team was ill-informed, in denial, or unprepared to provide the public with its honest view of the state of the programme.

Now I report these comments directly from the report and there are many more which can be found in the quoted report.

For commuters on the London Tube Network the suffering goes on but what will TFL (including its politicians) really learn from this project?

*You can read the full report here

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